Hydrocele- Causes, Symptoms, Treatment and Prevention

  • Hydrocele Overview
  • Fast Facts on Hydrocele
  • Causes 
  • Symptoms of Hydrocele
  • Prevention
  • Diagnosis
  • Treatment of Hydrocele
  • Surgery for Hydrocele
  • Hydrocelectomy 
  • Diet
  • Complications
  • Risk Factors
  • Exercises

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Hydrocele Overview

Accumulation of fluid around the testicles is known as Hydrocele.  The fluid may surround one or both testicles. Hydrocele repair is the process to treat swelling and inflammation of the scrotum during hydrocele. It is not painful but it gets enlarged with time. To be on the safe side, it is always advised to seek consultation with a doctor. 

Fast Facts on Hydrocele

  1. Hydrocele is commonly found in newborns, which disappears within the first 1 to 2 years of life without any treatment.

  2. Hydrocele may also develop in boys and adult men due to any injury within the scrotum.

  3. It is not fatal. It is usually painless and may not cause any discomfort.

  4. Hydrocele requires surgery as it may get severe with time. 

Causes 

Causes of Hydrocele in Baby Boys

Hydroceles are common in newborn babies. When the baby develops in the womb, the testicles descend from the abdomen into the scrotum through a tube. When this tube does not close, it leads to hydrocele. There is a drainage of fluid from the abdomen through the open tube that gets trapped in the scrotum. This causes the scrotum to swell.

Most hydroceles go away a few months after birth. Sometimes, a hydrocele may occur along with an inguinal hernia. 

Causes of Hydrocele in Adults may be:

  • The building of excess fluid around the testicles. This happens when the fluid does not drain properly and get collected. 

  • Injury to the testicles or inflammation in the scrotum 

Symptoms of Hydrocele

In hydrocele, you may not feel the pain. Symptoms of Hydrocele include:

  • Inflammation in the testicles which may increase with time

  • Heaviness in the scrotum

  • Sudden severe pain in the scrotum (in case of injury)

Prevention

There is no way you can protect congenital hydrocele in babies. However, in adults, you can take precautions to protect it from injury. 

Types of Hydrocele

There are two types of hydrocele:

  • Non-communicating Hydrocele

This occurs when the fluid-filled sac closes, but the body fails to absorb the fluid. 

  • Communicating Hydrocele

It happens when the sac filled with fluid does not seal. The fluid tends to flow in and out. The swelling may increase with time in case of communicating hydrocele. 

Diagnosis

The doctor performs a physical examination to check the tenderness of the enlarged scrotum. He may apply pressure to the abdomen to check for inguinal hernia. In children, there may be visible fluid surrounding the testicles. 

Hydrocele can be diagnosed with a flashlight through the inflamed scrotum.  The scrotum will light up if it is filled with clear fluid. 

The doctor may recommend blood and urine tests to check for infection. Even ultrasound may be required to rule out hernia, swelling and testicular tumor. 

Treatment of Hydrocele

Ayurveda Treatment for Hydrocele

The treatment pacifies both VATA and KAPHA in the case of hydrocele. The Ayurvedic medicines for hydrocele treatment are: 

  • Chandraprabha Vati

    : It helps in reducing the swelling and inflammation in the reproductive organ. 

  • Vridhivadhika Vati:

    This is a medicine of choice for hydrocele. This ayurvedic medicine helps to reduce swelling in the abdomen and naturally reduces the hernia. 

  • Arogyavardhini Vati:

    This helps in treating abdominal problems such as abdominal pain, intestinal gas,  heaviness in the abdomen. 

Allopathic Treatment 

There are no drugs or medication available to treat hydrocele although you may get relief from pain killers. But, consult your doctor before you take any medicine for hydrocele. 

Homeopathic Treatment

Consult a homeopathic doctor to know the medicines. Some of them are: 

  • Arnica and Conium

    – These homeopathy medicines treat hydrocele caused by injury.

  • Berberis Vulgaris, Nux Vomica and Clematis

    – This treats the pain in genitals that is caused during hydrocele which also extends to the abdomen when left untreated. 

  • Clematis and Rhododendron

    – There may be a burning sensation and soreness in the testes. To get relief from rushing pain, these medicines may be subscribed. This is for the right and left side respectively. 

  • Abrotanum, Pulsatilla and Rhododendron

    – This is for Congenital hydrocele and is safe for children. 

Note: This is for information purposes only. Do not self-medicate.

Surgery for Hydrocele

In a baby boy:
  • The surgeon makes a small surgical cut in the groin and drains the fluid. The hydrocele containing the fluid may be removed. The surgeon strengthens the abdominal wall with stitches. It is known as hernia repair.

  • Sometimes, the surgeon uses a laparoscope to perform the procedure. A laparoscope is a telescope-like instrument with a tiny camera that the surgeon inserts into the area through a small surgical cut. The camera gives a clear view of the internal structure on the video monitor. The surgeon repairs hydrocele with small instruments that are inserted through other small surgical cuts.

Hydrocelectomy 

Hydrocele may not go away on its own so the doctor recommends hydrocelectomy. It is an outpatient procedure that is performed under general anesthesia. It can be done in two ways:

  1. Open Surgery

  2. Laser Surgery

In

open surgery

, the doctor makes an incision in the scrotum or lower abdomen and the hydrocele is removed. You might need a tube to drain the fluid. 

Laser surgery

is a minimally invasive procedure where the blood vessels are sealed after repair with minimum blood loss. There is minimal scarring and negligible post-surgery complications with effective hydrocele ablation. It is preferred over open surgery. 

  • Needle Drainage

The doctor drains the fluid with the help of a needle and a syringe. The fluid may get refilled after a few months with this process. This is an ongoing process and is recommended to those who are not fit to undergo surgery. 

  • Sclerotherapy

In this process, the injection is given to stop the hydrocele from recurring after fluid drainage. It may not be the right treatment option for everyone. 

Diet

You can go with a normal diet during hydrocele with the following precautions: 

  • Drink enough water to stay hydrated. 

  • Avoid canned or processed food. 

  • Avoid alcohol and smoking

  • Avoid sleeping immediately after dinner

Complications

Hydrocele is not life-threatening and usually does not affect fertility. Possible complications of hydrocele surgery, if you do not choose the right treatment, may be:

  • Infection

  • Blood clots

  • Injury 

Risk Factors

Premature babies are at higher risk of being born with hydrocele. At later stages the risk may include:

  • Injury or swelling in the scrotum

  • Infection, including sexually transmitted infection

Exercises

Before and immediately after the surgery, do not perform any activity that puts strain on your genitals. Avoid straining to the groin to prevent hydrocele from recurring.

Frequently asked Questions

How can I treat swelling of Hydrocele at home?

Home remedies to treat swelling due to hydrocele include:

  • Using a cold compress on the scrotum to relieve swelling
  • Painkillers after doctor consultation
  • Wearing athletic support
  • Sitz bath or shallow bath to reduce inflammation
  • Avoiding strenuous activities
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Where We Can Find Hydrocele?

A hydrocele is an abnormal fluid-filled sac around the testes that causes the scrotum to swell. Hydroceles can occur on either side of the scrotum or, in rare cases, on both sides.

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